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Might be dated, but should be celebrated!
Been waiting for this for a long time - as cult classics go it's one of my more memorable adolescent reminiscences.
I remember seeing this on the big screen when it was first released. Loved it then, for several reasons: Strauss was capable but cool as the hero Wolf, Molly Ringwald was feisty, mouthy and cheeky as the elfin Nikki, and Michael Ironsides was virtually unrecognisable under his make-up, but still gave Overdog a sinister air of menace and cruelty.
Now, 20 years later, I get to see it again, and there are flaws that time has exposed. The effects and the music are very dated. The dialogue is weak in places, and the acting from the minor characters leaves something to be desired. However, it still has a sense of excitement and adventure that many other sci-fi flicks of the 80s now lack. The action is fast-paced, the interaction between the leads is good, and the scenery is suitably dark and barren.
7/10 - it's well worth overlooking the more dated elements in order to uncover the gem underneath.
A Very Peculiar Practice (1986)
A Very Peculiar - But Very Enjoyable - Experience
The early morning light struggles to penetrate the dark, litter-strewn walkways of the University Campus - no trees here, just concrete, tarmac, and murky glass windows that only reflect grime and misery.
Not the most obvious setting for a comedy, but it's fitting that the dark, forbidding structures of Lowlands University match the richly dark humour of A Very Peculiar Practice. We see the Medical Practice, with it's share of social outcasts (dour, drunken Scot Jock McCannon, self-centred, self-obsessed Bob Buzzard, and scheming, feminist man (and woman) trap, Dr Rose Marie). We see the University Chancellor, the inappropriately named Ernest Hemingway. We see the students, scared, drunk, clever, confused, horny - all finding their own way. And into all this, we see cast the misplaced and well-intentioned Dr Steven Daker, who is wonderfully played by Peter Davison. Daker is so out of his depth to start with, but slowly he managed to learn the way of survival, then life, then enjoyment, as he learns from his colleagues, his friends, and the lovely Lyn Turtle.
As has been said before, this is a story about life - as we all have to live it. It's superbly written, excellently played, and delightfully spiced.
Come on, BBC - release Series 2 on DVD!!!
Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
Deliciously dark and delightfully devilish.......
Kind Hearts and Coronets is Ealing comedy at it's pinnacle.
From Alec Guinness we see a masterly display of his acting talent, which we can now look back on with a knowing nod, but in 1949 this was a revelation of a new young talent. From Dennis Price we see the cool, calculated killer, totally focused and utterly charming in every way, and for whom every act of homicide must never, ever, offend the sensitive nature of the English Gentleman. From the supporting cast, we see great performances from Miles Malleson as the hangman, whose determination to address the Duke correctly leads him to practice his bowing, scraping, and 'Your Grace'-ing. Also, there is a great performance from Valerie Hobson as the widowed Edith D'Ascoyne. My favourite role (other than the lead) was Joan Greenwood as Sibella Holland - played in such a sultry, seductive way that I immediately thought of Fenella Fielding in Carry On Screaming!
This is a superb movie, and one I'd recommend to anyone who wants to truly understand how movies should be made.
What a Carve Up! (1961)
Well worth the long, long wait.....
I've finally managed to get my hands on a copy of this movie, after searching websites, video stores, and many a failed bid on eBay. And although it's a while since I last watched it, this movie is as good, if not better, than I remember.
Sid James gets the best lines, and delivers them with the consummate ease of a true professional. Kenneth Connor is a bit like his roles in the early Carry On's - but he was very good in them. Throw in a wonderfully sinister Donald Pleasance, the typically statuesque and beautiful Shirley Eaton, and a host of other suitable strange and quirky characters, all locked in a creepy mansion where the guests begin dropping like flies one by one. It all adds up to a marvelous romp - not so much scary as very creepy, very suspenseful, and very, very funny.
Not so bad (as long as your character name isn't Tracy)
I want to this movie for several reasons: first, to see if the reviews I'd heard were accurate. Second, to see if my fears about the quality of the key characters were justified, and thirdly (and for me most importantly) to see the building where I work. The crew had taken over the office building which by day is the humble home of a major software company in Europe (situated close to Pinewood Studios) and turned it into San Francisco City Hospital. and I wasn't disappointed on any count.
The reviews were pretty accurate, if not a little unfair. There was a good mix of humour, action, kid's stuff, in fact very much like the original TV series. it had, for me, a kind of familiar feel to it.
The acting was very mixed, I thought: of all the characters called Tracy, Bill Paxton was, of course, the best. The others weren't up to much. The interaction with Brains and Fermat was a little better, and Ben Kingsley led his team of underlings with menace. But the best characters were those I was most afraid of - Lady Penelope and Parker. They were 'very good, Milady'. More so that I would have thought or hoped.
And my office? All the dressing they did was a little signage. And it looked the part. Even got into the credits!
Overall? If you have expectations of quality, you'll be disappointed. If you go with an open mind and are ready to be entertained, you'll have a good couple of hours. 3/5.
The Story Makers (2002)
Well my daughter loves to watch...
The Story Makers always starts off with the kids and helpers leaving a small local library for the night. Once the lights are off, and the clock strikes midnight, then our heroes appear. There's Jelly and Jackson, two hapless, bug-eyed Muppet Show rejects, who are amazed to rediscover exactly the same things that they were amazed by the previous show. And then there's the 'human' presenter, different from show to show, and almost always someone you wouldn't trust to sit the right way on a lavatory. With names taken from Britain's finest poets, we meet large, motherly type who treats the puppets as her lost children, a jolly young girl who you feel might be a cage dancer in a club somewhere had she not got work from the BBC, a too-smooth Shaft-wannabe, and the Carribean's answer to Mr Bean. Only Danny John-Jules stands out as being at all credible, but this is only because he's playing The Cat from Red Dwarf without the teeth in.
Every story they make is bland, uninspiring, and poorly animated, the worst example of which is Blue Cow, who needs to be seen to be disbelieved.
And my 2 year old loves it, so please, please, spare a thought for me. There are people in the world worse off than you, you know....
The Pope Must Die (1991)
Our Father, who art in trouble....
.... was the tagline for this movie, and if you want something to take seriously, this ain't it.
Some of the voters and commenters for this movie appear to belong to those particular group of planet-dwellers for whom everything needs a reason, and to whom every joke needs to be explained in detail, so that they can see why they should find it funny.
Coltrane, Edmondson, Lom, Rocco, and Sessions all give creditable if unchallenging performances using a script that is light-hearted without being offensive and a plot that is interesting without being stretching. The movie has a laugh at itself, it's subject, the actors, and also the viewers, some of whom obviously take life and movies far too seriously. IT'S ENTERTAINMENT, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!
Oh, by the way I really enjoyed the movie - helped me to take my life off the hook for 90 minutes.
The Final Countdown (1980)
Beware the green mists at sea....
OK, so I settled down to see the movie last night. I'd seen it before, but years ago. And afterwards, I was left feeling a little cheated.
The DVD cover showed the Nimitz emerging from the storm, aircraft at the ready, and looking for trouble. What I actually got was much more thought provoking - the main thrust of this movie comes from the potential time paradoxes and not from the exhausts of the jet fighters. The action scenes were limited to one dogfight and a gunfight aboard ship, and the rest of the time it was kind of 'Should we, shouldn't we' as far as trying to stop the Japanese forces. None of these questions were particularly answered, although there are instances where the timeline appears to be trying to reassert itself. But then the cheesy ending goes and throws all that out, by letting you see the results of leaving someone there.
As I said, disappointed and a little cheated. It was like a thinking man's Top Gun for the seventies.